The first year under head coach Dennis Allen was a mixed-bag for the New Orleans Saints. The team battled through numerous injuries, but ultimately fell short of the playoff while finishing with a 7-10 record. That was one game behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who won the suspect NFC South division.
That same division is up for grabs, especially with Tom Brady out of the picture. The Saints made several changes in the offseason to try and take advantage of that opening. Will it work?
We’ll take a look at the latest DraftKings Sportsbook lines and predict if the New Orleans Saints can beat their 2023 win total. The odds below are as of May 4, 2023.
NFC South win totals
New Orleans Saints: 9.5 (Over +105, Under -125)
Carolina Panthers: 7.5 (Over -135, Under +110)
Atlanta Falcons: 8.5 (Over +110, Under -130)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6.5 (Over +110, Under -130)
Notable offseason moves
The most notable offseason move came when the Saints signed quarterback Derek Carr (previously with the Las Vegas Raiders) to a four-year contract worth $150 million.
New Orleans lost several impact players, especially on the defensive side as DT David Onyemata, OLB Kaden Elliss, DT Shy Tuttle, and DE Marcus Davenport all left in free agency.
Getting DE Nathan Shepherd from the New York Jets helps fill the void, and the Saints selected DT Bryan Bresee and DE Isaiah Foskey in the 2023 NFL Draft.
On offense, New Orleans added RB Jamaal Williams in free agency, and he had a breakout season with the Detroit Lions last year.
New Orleans Saints prediction: Over 9.5
This prediction revolves more around the schedule than improvements to the roster. The NFC South is rough, especially with Brady no longer claiming the division. The Buccaneers have a win total of 6.5, and the Saints will face them twice along with unproven division-mates Carolina and Atlanta.
But wait, it gets better! The Saints have crossover games against the grubby AFC South. They’ll also face an unproven NFC North with home games against the Chicago Bears and Lions.
Outside of that, New Orleans will take on the Los Angeles Rams on the road, the New England Patriots in Germany, the New York Giants at home.
Pretty much all of those games will be winnable, even if the Saints are still a mediocre team from a talent perspective. Not everyone is sold on Carr as a legitimate quarterback, but he’s an upgrade over Andy Dalton.
The defense will continue to be a steady force for New Orleans, and the offense should take a step forward with a healthy Michael Thomas alongside Chris Olave at wide receiver. The addition of Williams at running back helps too.
What moves might change our prediction?
Injuries always play a role, and that’s especially true when banking on a player like Thomas to have a comeback season. Some people have an “I’ll believe it when I see it” approach to the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year, and you can’t blame them. Still, the Saints have the most stable quarterback situation in the NFC South, and the schedule is very manageable.